Conducting Effective Performance Evaluations
Integrity Staffing & Solutions
Managers and employees alike tend to dread the performance evaluation. There are steps that managers can take to make the evaluation a more useful and productive endeavor for both the employee and the manager.
Managers can follow these guidelines to improve the performance evaluation discussion:
1. Be Prepared.
Collect documentation throughout the evaluation period related to the employee’s performance. This will focus both the written documentation and the discussion on performance throughout the evaluation period rather than on just the most recent activity.
What do you do if your documentation is incomplete or nonexistent? Supplement your observations and perceptions of the employee’s performance with the observations of internal and external customers with whom this individual works (e.g. clients, co-workers, vendors).
2. Set the Stage.
Schedule an appointment with the employee for a sufficient amount of time to complete the discussion. Arrange for the evaluation to take place in a private setting. It is recommended the employee be provided with a copy of the written evaluation ahead of time, so he/she has the chance to absorb the contents and be prepared to discuss the information and ask questions.
What if the discussion goes on longer than anticipated or the employee becomes angry or upset? If the discussion is taking longer than the time allotted, and either party needs to get to another appointment, schedule a time to complete the discussion within the next day or two. It is important that all elements of the discussion are covered. Similarly, if the employee becomes too emotional to effectively absorb the information being presented or to participate in the discussion, reschedule the meeting in the next day or two to give the employee the opportunity to calm down and focus on the information being presented.
3. Communicate Clearly by Giving Examples.
Managers typically believe they are clearly communicating their expectations to employees. A manager may tell an employee to provide better customer service. The trouble with this type of general statement is the manager and employee may have different definitions of what “better customer service” looks like. To clearly communicate expectations, the manager needs to describe the behaviors that define “better customer service.” For example, “Before ending a call with a customer, ask the caller if she has any additional questions and is there anything else you can do for her.”
4. Listen Carefully and Encourage Open Dialog.
Rephrase what you have heard the employee say, so he knows you are listening. An example, “You said you did not complete the information packets for the client meeting with Smith because you were waiting for specifications from Engineering. Can you tell me what you did to obtain the information you needed?” Listen to the employee’s description of how he approached the problem. Offer suggestions about ways he could have successfully reached the desired outcome.
5. Use Questions to Engage the Employees in the Process.
“Can you tell me what your career goals are for the next two to three years?” “How can I help you meet your goals?” Questions encourage the employee to actively participate in the discussion.
Volumes of information exist on managing, evaluating, and providing feedback on performance. These are just a few simple tips that can improve the outcomes of the performance management discussion for both the manager and the employee.